If you remember what life was like before GPS, you’re likely grateful for every “Prepare to turn left” or “Exit the highway” from your Google Maps or Apple Maps app. But did you know these handy tools can do more than offer directions from Point A to Point B?
NOTE: Instructions may differ depending on what kind of device you’re using.
Google Maps is a powerful navigation tool with some amazing features.
Remember Where You Parked
Everyone has a story of that one time they just couldn’t find their car. With this feature, remembering your parking spot never has to be a problem again. To use this feature, locate the blue dot that indicates your current location. Tap on the dot and choose Save parking. A pin appears in the location, which you can reference when you later come to find your car. Click the pin to clear it after you’ve located your car.
To have Google Maps automatically remember your parking locations, tap your profile picture, then Settings > Notifications > Getting around. Set Parking location to on. Then, when you complete a navigation session, at the bottom of the screen tap Know where you parked.
View Where You’ve Been
Depending on your settings, Google may track where you go. Many find this feature to be creepy, but it can also be cool, especially when you want to relive vacations. To see your timeline, within Google Maps, tap your profile picture and select Your timeline. The default set-ting is today. To see past days, tap Today and choose a date. You’ll see a map and timeline for all the places you went that day as well as any photos you might have uploaded to Google Photos then.
Create Custom Labels
Are there some places you need to return to infrequently and want directions each time? Rather than having to remember the addresses for these places (such as the dentist where you only go twice per year), create a custom label. To do it, type the address into Google Maps and select Label. Then type in your label, such as Dr. Marcus. Next time you need directions to this place, search for the label name and Google Maps will find the address.
Get Offline Maps
This feature is super handy for travel when you might not have reliable internet service and want to minimize battery use. It enables you to use maps without being online. To start, tap your profile picture, then Offline maps > Select your own map. Highlight the area you want to be available offline. Tap Download to download the map. Alternatively, search for a location, tap the three-stacked-dots icon, and select Download offline map.
Share Your Location
You might want to share your location when meeting friends or to reassure family members. To do it, tap on the blue dot on the map that shows where you are. Tap Share location. Choose the duration you would like the sharing to continue and the people you would like to share with. The people you’ve shared with will be able to see your location for that amount of time.
Get Reminded to Leave on Time
After you’ve identified the starting and ending points, tap Directions, then the three-stacked-dots icon at the top of the screen. Tap Add stop and enter the additional stop. Press and hold items to reorder the stops.
While considered less powerful than Google Maps, Apple Maps also provides an excellent range of navigation functionality.
Look Around Streets
This feature is the equivalent of Street View on Google Maps. To use it, tap the binoculars icon at the bottom of a map. A photo-graphic view of the street appears. To pan, drag a finger left or right. To move forward, tap the scene. To zoom, pinch in or out. To go back to your map, tap Done.
Share Your ETA
For those occasions when you’re late to a meeting or social gathering, you can have Apple Maps share an accurate ETA. To do it, tap the route card at the bottom of the screen, then tap Share ETA. Choose who you would like to share with or tap Open Contacts to find a contact.
Find a Rest Stop
Try this one on your next road trip! While following directions in Apple Maps, swipe up from the bottom of the screen. You’ll see a selection of buttons, including Gas Stations, Breakfast (or lunch or dinner, depending on the time of day), and Coffee. Tap the button that corresponds with the service you need, and Apple Maps will guide you there, and then back to your original route.
Plan Your Route
As an alternative to directing you from one location to another as quickly as possible, Apple Maps enables you to choose other criteria for your route. For example, do you want a scenic drive? Do you want to avoid tolls? To make these selections, navigate to your Settings. Then tap Maps > Driving & Navigation. Adjust the Tolls and Highways switches according to your choices. While here you can also choose whether or not to show a compass and the current speed limit in your
Report What You See on the Road
To help your fellow drivers, you can use Apple Maps to report accidents, hazards, or speed traps. While in navigation mode, tap the route card at the bottom of the screen. Then tap Report and select Accident, Hazard, or Speed Check. Alternatively, speak your request to Siri by saying, “Hey Siri, report an accident” or something similar depending on what you are seeing.
Do a Flyover
This fun feature allows you to do a 3D flyover of major cities. The flyover appears as a computer-generated animation that displays notable landmarks. To begin the tour for places where it’s available, tap Flyover.
Google Maps and Apple Maps are both highly useful apps, but there are others that were designed to perform certain functions better. Keep these tools in mind for even more navigation support.